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Accused Fortnite leaker files defense against Epic’s lawsuit

Epic accuses QA tester of spoiling comet strike, season 4 details

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Fortnite - artwork of three characters Epic Games
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

A quality assurance contractor sued by Epic Games and blamed for a late April leak of Fortnite Battle Royale season four spoilers filed a defense to Epic’s claims this past week, saying he did not work with a third party to disseminate the information and that he had no indication that person would do so.

Thomas Hannah’s reply to Epic’s civil suit says the third person, who is not named as a defendant, “pumped [Hannah] with a series of questions and guesses regarding where the meteor would hit,” at the end of Fortnite Battle Royale season three. This references the big mystery closing out that timed event, when a blazing comet appeared in the sky and Fortnite’s excited player base speculated on what part of the map was doomed.

Users who thought they decoded a secret message believed Tilted Towers was the target; it turned out to be Dusty Depot (now Dusty Divot) — as an April 27 leak on the Fortnite Battle Royale subreddit said it would be. Hannah, Epic said, provided that secret and others (including season four’s superheroes theme) to an intermediary (not named as a defendant in the lawsuit) who then published them to the subreddit. The text of that post, and the account that created it, have since been deleted.

But where Epic accuses Hannah of deliberately working with the other person to spread the information, roughly three weeks after he worked his last day for Epic, Hannah says it was more like a private conversation whose outcome he had no hand in or control over. Likewise, the poster’s claim to supply more spoilers and predictions of what was to come was done without Hannah’s participation or knowledge. Hannah’s reply, however, admits that having the conversation and sharing the information did violate the non-disclosure agreement Hannah had signed, and made statements without Epic’s authorization or consent.

Epic sued Hannah on May 7 saying that because of the leaked details, it “has suffered and is continuing to suffer irreparable injury,” that cannot be compensated by money alone. Epic’s complaint seeks punitive damages under state and federal trade secrets laws, plus attorney’s fees for bringing the action. Hannah’s defense asks that a judge toss those claims.

Epic has taken legal action multiple times as Fortnite’s popularity has skyrocketed. In December, Epic settled one lawsuit with the maker of cheating software, by securing promises to destroy the software, pay a fine, and never cheat in the game again. Other suits, including at least one against a minor, are still pending.

Epic’s suit against Hannah is below. Hannah’s reply, filed June 21, 2018, is beneath that.